Wednesday, November 04, 2015

When porcupines attack

It's always a shame when the comments aren't enabled, because "brutal porcupine attack" could have set off a really good round of Fox Comments Bingo.* All we can do instead is wonder how this tale managed to get around the world so fast and so -- OK, did you guys look at the picture (below) over at the highly reliable Daily Mail? Which suggests that most porcupine attacks were written by Monty Python in their prime and begin with something like "Hold still while I back into you"?

Here's the Fox lede, appropriated from Sky News, which wasn't even the first UK outlet on the scene:

Three Canadian dogs are recovering after being spiked by a porcupine, as their owner receives support from the public to help cover the vet bill.

At a glance, the story appears to have originated from a GoFundMe post last week (where the attack was a "nasty encounter"), then languished in the local media until it sprang to life on Tuesday at the Star ("a brutal brawl," if you count being jumped on by a pit bull as a "brawl") and the Huffington Post ("an attack by a porcupine") before crossing the Atlantic to the Mail ("attacked by a porcupine and stabbed with barbs all over"). It reached the quality press** ("Porcupine attacks three dogs in Canada") and ITV (my personal favorite hed, "Dog narrowly survives lethal spiking from porcupine") before migrating back our shores, and the rest had better be history, because it ain't zoology.

Fox isn't the only US outlet to blame the victim for the mugging here, and certainly not the only one to confuse "after" and "during." But one could fairly wonder exactly what associations are going on in the editorial mind when the only "brutal attack" to make the frontpage is, you know, an angry porcupine in Saskatchewan.

* BENGHAZI !!!!!!! is the free space in the center, so basically, if you have Sharia, Chicago, Al Sharpton and Moochelle's lunch menu, you've got bingo.
** OK, the Torygraph

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